The biggest news to come from Spain for many years was the abdication of the former king after nearly 40 years on the throne. Prince Felipe of Spain has now been officially crowned and the former king hopes that his son will “open a new era of hope” in a country reeling from “a long and deep economic crisis that has left serious scars in the social fabric.” What, if anything will this change of leadership mean for Spain and will it be a good thing for those of us with property in Spain, or businesses here?
Looking for reaction across the different media, there’s an overall positive view of the change of leadership. The expectations are that the fabric of the monarchy will stay largely unchanged, but that a younger and more business-focused king may be able to prove the unifying power of the monarchy to support the government to keep Spain together and come out of the crisis which has beset it for so many years.
An interesting article from Business Week states that he will probably be most effective at international liaison and also to try to get the central government and Catalonia to talk, as he speaks Catalan. Although they don’t believe the change will affect businesses in Spain.
What’s certain is that he needs to prove the relevance of the monarchy and bring it into the 21st Century and in his opening speech he started to do that by stressing the importance of the monarchy. “The independence of the Crown, its political neutrality and its wish to embrace and reconcile the different ideological standpoints enable it to contribute to the stability of our political system, facilitating a balance with the other constitutional and territorial bodies, promoting the orderly functioning of the State and providing a channel for cohesion among Spaniards. These political values are essential for our coexistence, and for the organisation and development of our life in common.” Read the full speech here
This is certainly a new kind of King and Queen, he is Georgetown University-educated and former Olympic sailor and she is a divorced former journalist and the first non-royal to become Queen of Spain. Dubbed the “hipster queen”, her popularity has risen and she supports children’s rights, culture and education and is a figurehead for Spanish designers. It will be interesting to see how their influence affects this fantastic country.
The Art Newspaper believes that it will be a good thing for the country’s arts and culture as the Prince gave his first public speech after his abdication at a cultural awards ceremony and he is the founder of the Prince of Asturias Foundation which supports annual awards promoting culture, sport, humanities and sciences.
From our point of view, as business owners in the tourism sector, the amazing amount of press coverage which the Royals are receiving, at the start of the important summer season will certainly help to further raise the profile of Spain in the minds of the International community. This should make people think about holidaying in Spain and boost visitor numbers for holiday rental villas, potentially from less traditional markets such as the USA.
Having a younger, “cooler” royalty, should mean a much higher level of media interest in the more lifestyle press for years to come and we hope that they will travel around and grace the Costa del Sol with their presence and shine even more of a light onto this fantastic area. Hopefully the new king will do as his father intended and mark an end of this period of financial crisis and the start of a new era. A change is as good as a rest as they say, so let’s see what the next 40 years has in store!